National Basketball League (New Zealand)
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National Basketball League New Zealand

National Basketball League (NBL)
Most recent season or competition:
2019 New Zealand NBL season
Sal's NBL Logo.jpg
Inaugural season1982
CEOIain Potter
DirectorJustin Nelson (general manager)
No. of teams7
Countries New Zealand
ContinentFIBA Oceania (Oceania)
Most recent
Most titlesWellington Saints (11 titles)
Level on pyramid1
Official websiteNZNBL.Basketball

The National Basketball League (NBL) is a men's semi-professional basketball league in New Zealand.

In 1981, a group of club and provincial teams came together to create a men's national basketball league. The following year, the league was brought under the management of the New Zealand Basketball Federation. The league quickly grew in size and popularity due to the influx of sponsors and American import players. The early 1990s held dwindling fortunes for New Zealand basketball, with reduced TV coverage, sponsorships, and crowd numbers. The sport's popularity increased in the 2000s with the success of the Tall Blacks and the introduction of the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian NBL.

In the early days, Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington were the benchmark teams of the league. During the 1990s, Auckland and Nelson were the teams to beat, before Waikato joined Auckland as the dominate sides during the 2000s. During the 2010s, Wellington and Southland became the league's premier teams.


The 1980s ushered in a period of exceptional growth and popularity for basketball in New Zealand. Late in 1981, six men's teams - a mixture of club and provincial representative sides - went out alone and created an inaugural national league. It was enough of a success to come under the control of the New Zealand Basketball Federation the following year, when it grew in size and secured a naming sponsor. An allowance of two imported players (invariably Americans with college basketball experience) per team, and the fact that games were played in the evening indoors, helped turn the league into a new family entertainment option. Spectators filled gymnasiums and media coverage reached unprecedented levels.[1] The early 1990s held dwindling fortunes for New Zealand basketball and many of teams in the NBL, with reduced TV coverage, sponsorships, and crowd numbers.[2] With the success of the Tall Blacks at the 2002 FIBA World Championship and the introduction of the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian NBL in 2003, basketball in New Zealand rose in popularity again.[1]

The number of teams each season has constantly changed since the league's inception, with many promotions and relegations between the first division and second division during the 1980s and 1990s, as well as many withdrawals due to financial reasons. The league began with 8 teams in 1982, then peaked at 13 teams in 1995, before dropping to a low of 7 in 2016. In 2019, the Southern Huskies from Tasmania became the first ever Australian team to join a New Zealand competition.

Current teams

Former and defunct teams

League eligibility rules

There are two categories of players in the NZNBL:

  • Non-Restricted Player - players eligible to play for New Zealand in FIBA competitions
  • Restricted Player - a player who is not eligible to play for New Zealand[9]

Basketball New Zealand believes that the NZNBL is very much a part of the player pathway for New Zealand players, where Tall Blacks and potential Tall Blacks can play and develop as players. For that reason, it is intended that NZNBL teams have a majority of players that are able to represent New Zealand.[10]

Broadcasting details

In March 2016, Basketball New Zealand, the NZNBL, and New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) announced that two weekly NBL games will be livestreamed free of charge on throughout the 2016 season.[11] In December 2016, NZME joined forces with Basketball New Zealand and Maori Television in a new media partnership for the 2017 season. NZME announced they would continue to build on the success of the 2016 live streaming in 2017 with at least two games a week to be livestreamed on, as well as all games during the Final Four weekend. In addition, Maori Television will televise free to air live coverage of a NBL game every Sunday afternoon at 3pm, for the duration of the competition, and live coverage of the Final Four weekend consisting of the Semi Finals and Final. Maori Television will also show delayed coverage of a second game every week on a Saturday afternoon during the season.[12]


List of Champions

Year NBL Champions Result Runners-up
1982 Auckland Waitemata Dolphins
1983 Auckland 80 - 77 Wellington Saints
1984 Wellington Saints 96 - 83 Auckland
1985 Wellington Saints 114 - 111 Auckland
1986 Canterbury Rams 87 - 82 Wellington Saints
1987 Wellington Saints 100 - 87 Canterbury Rams
1988 Wellington Saints 81 - 78 North Shore
1989 Canterbury Rams 91 - 83 Auckland
1990 Canterbury Rams 76 - 73 Nelson Giants
1991 Hutt Valley Lakers 103 - 92 Wellington Saints
1992 Canterbury Rams 79 - 71 Palmerston North Jets
1993 Hutt Valley Lakers 68 - 66 Canterbury Rams
1994 Nelson Giants 67 - 66 Canterbury Rams
1995 Auckland Stars 2 - 0
(80-74, 70-57)
Hawke's Bay Hawks
1996 Auckland Stars 2 - 1
(95-110, 109-98, 94-90)
Nelson Giants
1997 Auckland Rebels 2 - 0
(115-94, 100-82)
Nelson Giants
1998 Nelson Giants 81 - 73 North Harbour Kings
1999 Auckland Rebels 79 - 72 Canterbury Rams
2000 Auckland Rebels 95 - 78 Nelson Giants
2001 Waikato Titans 112 - 97 Wellington Saints
2002 Waikato Titans 85 - 83 Nelson Giants
2003 Wellington Saints 97 - 88 Waikato Titans
2004 Auckland Stars 80 - 68 Nelson Giants
2005 Auckland Stars 69 - 68 Hawke's Bay Hawks
2006 Hawke's Bay Hawks 84 - 69 Auckland Stars
2007 Nelson Giants 2 - 0
(76-67, 96-83)
Hawke's Bay Hawks
2008 Waikato Pistons 2 - 0
(95-78, 84-79)
Wellington Saints
2009 Waikato Pistons 2 - 0
(81-69, 94-84)
Nelson Giants
2010 Wellington Saints 2 - 1
(74-84, 98-69, 82-79)
Waikato Pistons
2011 Wellington Saints 106 - 97 Hawke's Bay Hawks
2012 Auckland Pirates 89 - 83 Wellington Saints
2013 Southland Sharks 92 - 81 Nelson Giants
2014 Wellington Saints 85 - 69 Hawke's Bay Hawks
2015 Southland Sharks 72 - 68 Wellington Saints
2016 Wellington Saints 94 - 82 Super City Rangers
2017 Wellington Saints 108 - 75 Southland Sharks
2018 Southland Sharks 98 - 96 Wellington Saints
2019 Wellington Saints 78 - 68 Hawke's Bay Hawks


See also


  1. ^ a b Saker, John (5 September 2013). "Basketball". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "Locations - Exodus Saints". Archived from the original on 9 February 2013.
  3. ^ Cowles Stadium - Christchurch City Council
  4. ^ Pirates out of 2013 NBL
  5. ^ Nuggets pull out of NBL
  6. ^ Basketball: Otago Nuggets targeting NBL comeback in 2017
  7. ^ Waikato Pistons out of 2012 national league
  8. ^ Waikato Pistons pull out of NBL competition
  12. ^ Basketball: NZ Herald to live stream NZ NBL in 2017

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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